We woke up this morning and just lay there. We knew there was cricket on, but we didn’t jump up. We’re getting a new mattress next week and currently it feels like we’re sleeping on a slight incline, constantly in danger of being rolled out of one side of the bed. It’s not great for lie-ins.
When we did get up, we were presented with a decent one-day match – low-scoring and competitive enough that you couldn’t confidently pick a winner until fairly late on. Even so, we soon found ourself getting side-tracked, wandering the internet and making a million cups of tea.
There is too much cricket – this is by no means news – but our experience this morning sums the situation up. Even the people watching don’t particularly care. The matches aren’t events. They’re not unmissable.
The opposite of this was the Ashes. When you think everyone else is watching something, you want to watch too.
Between the Ashes and the World Cup
You might say that it would be hard to make a one-day series between Australia and England unmissable when it falls between the Ashes and the World Cup, but that’s not true.
Firstly and most obviously, seven matches is too many. The series as a whole has a certain amount of importance and each match has one seventh of that. A three- or five-match series would be just as important overall, but each fixture would be that much more vital.
World Cup build-up
A three-match series might have encouraged the two teams to field their best XIs a bit more often as well. Who really wants to watch an international match to gauge depth of talent and squad strength?
It would also be good if this series were part of the World Cup build-up. You might think it is, being as the World Cup’s the next major event, but it’s not. The World Cup build-up begins on February the 19th with the group stages.
With respect to Canada, Kenya, Ireland and the Netherlands, it is basically going to take 42 matches to see whether Zimbabwe or Bangladesh can spring a little bit of a surprise by preventing one of the big eight getting to the quarter finals. There will be squad rotation and low-key matches. That is not a World Cup as we understand the concept.
It is common to dismiss the chances of a cohesive fixture list ever being produced on the grounds that faceless administrators are only bothered about the bottom line. While that’s certainly true to some extent, we also wonder whether those with the power to change things have even a basic understanding of the reasons why people watch sport?
We need a reason to get out of bed.